Message vs. Music on Hold: What’s the Difference & Which is Better?

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that most people would rather listen to music than silence, especially when they’re on-hold. You might think that music will keep your callers entertained, relaxed, and most importantly, on the line—but that’s not necessarily true. While music is certainly better than silence and is more likely to keep your patients from hanging up and trying again later (or worse, calling another dental practice), a message on-hold program is far superior to mere music.

The Problem with Using Music On-Hold

Below, we elaborate on a couple of reasons why music isn’t ideal for your callers while they’re on hold.

It’s Boring

Playing music on-hold for your callers might seem like the easy option for making time pass a little faster. Unfortunately, it can cost your practice. Music can quickly become boring and repetitive for your callers, especially if it’s of the bland “elevator music” variety. Plus, there’s nothing that really gets the listener’s attention—no one is addressing them or providing them with any useful information. It’s all noise.

Message on hold vs. music on hold

It’s Potentially Illegal

Are you currently playing top 40 hits or orchestral arrangements for your callers? You might be breaking the law! For instance, if you want to play radio music on hold, you’ll need to purchase a license from the FCC. It’s also illegal to play copyrighted music for commercial use if you don’t have a license for each individual song, and this can land you in hot water with companies like BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc.), the largest music rights organization in the US, and ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers).

It’s Expensive

One way or another, if you choose to go with music on-hold, you’re going to have to spend lots of money one way or another. On the one hand, if you don’t get a license, you might end up paying thousands of dollars in fines for each song you play on-hold. On the other, the average cost of a license from a company like BMI ranges anywhere between $250 to $400 a year. But if you have a large business and multiple locations, the cost might skyrocket to $2000 per year!

Furthermore, you’ll need to make sure all the songs you’re using fall under the BMI umbrella. If you choose any songs outside of the BMI catalog, you’ll have to purchase separate licenses for those.

Why Message On-Hold Programs are Better

To hold your callers’ attention and interest, you’re going to want to create a quality message on-hold program. Here’s why.

They Provide Valuable Information

With the average person spending 60 hours per year on-hold, you’d better make their time on-hold with your practice worthwhile! Message on-hold programs don’t just exist to fill up the silence. Their purpose is to promote your dental practice, help you stand out among your competitors, and be educational, informative, interesting, and insightful.

With message on-hold, you’re providing your callers with information that actually matters and can grow your practice. You’re providing value.

They Give Callers a Better Experience with Your Practice

Look at message on-hold as an extension of the customer service your dental practice delivers. Your programs show that you care about your callers’ experience and appreciate their business. Sometimes, the quality of the experience you provide can matter more than the quality of your services and products.

And when you create an ongoing chain of great experiences with your callers, this can lead to more calls, more appointments, more patients…and more growth.

How You can Deliver Value with Message On-Hold

In a previous article, we discussed how a business’s caller retention rate increases by 40% when it shares relevant information via message on-hold. This also leads to a 15% increase in caller inquiries, and a 12% increase in requests for certain services and/or products being promoted. We have also found that, courtesy of the Telemarketing Magazine Survey, 1 in 5 respondents claimed to have made a purchase or purchasing decision based on information they heard while on-hold. Clearly, there’s something to be said for the effectiveness of on-hold messaging as a generator of value, for both your dental practice and your patients.

When you start to think about all the information you want your callers and patients to have, it becomes easier to give them value via your on-hold program.

Here are some examples of what you can include in your message on-hold program:

  • Promote individual services to generate more interest
  • Call attention to a new service or piece of cutting-edge technology
  • Feature one or more team members who specialize in certain procedures
  • Alert callers to your latest service and/or product specials
  • Notify callers about changes in your practice’s hours, COVID policies, etc.
  • Encourage people to visit your website for more information
  • Educate callers about common oral health issues and symptoms
  • Provide timely, seasonal tips
  • Build trust by promoting your accreditations, awards, or other distinctions your practice possesses

There aren’t many limits to what you can talk about in your message on-hold program, as long as the information you put forth is relevant to your callers and can keep them on the line. Of course, if you’re unsure of how to write on-hold messages or how they need to be structured to fit your message on-hold player, we can help you with that.

We’re the Message On-Hold Expert for Dentists Nationwide

Message on-hold is our flagship service at InTouch. We wouldn’t be here today without it! For over 25 years, our team has crafted custom on-hold programs for countless dental practices and other businesses. We remain passionate about this marketing medium and the success it generates for our many clients.

If you’re looking for knowledgeable professionals to consult with on all things message on-hold, well…you’ve found us! Get InTouch by calling (877) 493-9003 and we’ll help you create compelling messages that keep your callers informed, engaged, and coming back to you for all their dental needs.